08 November 2006

The Creature Lives!

Paul Di Filippo, author of The Steampunk Trilogy, has a new book out featuring my childhood's favorite campy swamp monster - The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Time's Black Lagoon is reviewed by Cory Doctorow on boingboing where he calls it:

funny, deeply weird, and action-packed...Di Filippo manages to cram every great tradition of the science fiction adventure novel into this one, giving it the feel of one of his baroque masterpieces...

31 October 2006

An Ideal External Drive

WD My Book I've recently found an almost ideal line of external hard drives with the Western Digital "My Book" series. I purchased the 250 GB model and discovered several great features:

  • It's very quiet and runs cool

  • The case is decent looking and unobtrusive

  • Most importantly, the drive spins down after a period of inactivity (unlike most of the other external drives I've seen)

The only, slight drawbacks are that the drive automatically turns on & spins up whenever the attached PC boots (vs. defaulting to "off" unless you press the power button), and that the disk is formatted with the FAT32 filesystem. The filesystem issue isn't necessarily bad - just depends on what sort of OS your PC runs. Folks who run WinXP exclusively (I'm sorry) may want to reformat the drive as NTFS, and MacOS users will probably want to change it to HFS+. But FAT32 isn't bad. All modern OSes can read/write to it. The only drawback is that a single file can't be larger than 4GB on a FAT32 filesystem.

Anyway - good piece of kit. Recommended.

19 September 2006

Old Phones

Ever wish you had a source for one of those "built like a tank" old Western Electric desktop phones ? Well drop by Old Phones and have a look. All of their phones come equipped with an RJ-11 modular jack and are made to be used, not just displayed on a shelf.

How about a brand new, military surplus, rotary dial ITT model 500 in the original box for $65.00 ? Nice, hefty handset, and a good, loud "answer me, dammit" ringer - a classic :)

[via the Silicon Underground]

27 June 2006

WRT54G Reclaimed for Linux

As a follow-up to my post below about a Real Router for $60, word comes that recent models of the popular Linksys WRT54G can now be converted to Linux like the older models.

The current, series 5 models of the WRT54G have come from Linksys with the VxWorks OS loaded, and were resistant to being flashed with alternate firmware. But...

Jeremy Collake, aka "db90h," appears to have created a "VxWorks Killer" flash image that overwrites the VxWorks bootloader on series 5 WRT54G routers with normal Broadcom CFE firmware. This then enables the device to be put into maintenance mode at startup, after which Linux firmware can be installed easily.

[via Linux Devices]

07 June 2006

A Real Router for $60

There have been alternative, Linux-based firmware upgrades for the Cisco/Linksys WRT54G series of wireless routers for some time now. But a new article on Lifehacker introduces this easy upgrade in a very approachable way.

After following the instructions and upgrading to the DD-WRT firmware, your cheap WRT54G can do cool, "real router" things like QoS (Quality of Sevice, a.k.a. traffic shaping), where you assign higher bandwidth to certain machines, or to critical apps like Skype, while still letting that Bittorrent D/L chug along in the background. You can also increase its wireless Xmit power from the default, and rather measly, 28 mW to something more useful - like 70 mW. Or set it up as a static DHCP server, where the individual MAC of a machine's NIC is always assigned the same IP addr with its DHCP lease. Endless, geeky network admin fun awaits...

[via boingboing]

19 May 2006

Sita Sings the Blues

So, you're a cartoonist/animator and your husband dumps you via email from half a world away. You're feeling rotten. You've also been reading the epic Indian poetry of The Ramayana and going to hear old, torchy Blues singing in a New York nightclub. So what do you do ?

If you're Nina Paley, you create a charming animation of the story from the perspective of a Blues-singing Princess Sita! :)

[via boingboing]

16 May 2006

Freeware Utilities Aggregation Site

Now this site is useful! A list of 450+ freeware utilities to solve common PC problems. Not perfect - they're missing some of my favorites (like the Vim editor), and it's completely Windows-centric. Still worth bookmarking, tho'.

[via Chaos Manor]